Sisters Grimm, Lemoncello, One Cool Friend – World class authors and storytellers come to World’s Fair Park


Knox County Public Library invites readers of all ages to celebrate 10 years of the Children’s Festival of Reading on May 17, 2014 in World’s Fair Park.  This year’s Festival will host some of the most popular and acclaimed children’s authors and illustrators in the country. Headlining the day is Michael Buckley, author of the very popular Sisters Grimm series. Joining him are Chris Grabenstein, UT alumnus and author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library; husband and wife duo and Caldecott honorees, Andrea and Brian Pinkney; Horn Book honoree, Laura Veccaro Seeger; and Imagination Library favorite, Toni Buzzeo whose book One Cool Friend will be acted out on the main stage by the Dollywood Penguin Players at the Festival.  World class story teller and children’s book author, Carmen Agra Deedy will also be on hand.


The Children’s Festival of Reading celebrates the literary arts with six performance stages, a Science Village, a Parade of Books led by Super Why, Jr. League of Knoxville’s Kids in the Kitchen, arts and crafts, book sales, 50 community booths, food, music, storytelling, and tons of fun. Readers of all ages are encouraged to sign up for a summer of reading in one of the Library’s summer reading clubs.


Summer reading programs help students retain their academic skills over the summer. Research shows that struggling students can lose as much as 1.5 years of academic progress between greades 1 and 6 if they don’t read over the summer. Furthermore, summer reading offers children and youth a chance to explore books that are of personal interest. Studies show that when readers are encouraged to choose their own books, they become stronger and more engaged readers.


“This Festival is a great way to get a jump start on a summer of reading,” commented Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. “This is a place where families can come to meet their favorite authors.”


This year’s theme of the Festival and the Summer Library Clubs is a nod to science: Fizz, Boom Read. Partnering with the The Muse Knoxville, the Science Village hosts “Mr. Bond, The Science Guy” as he demonstrates jaw-dropping, mind-bending, awe-inspiring experiments in front of your very eyes!  Festival goers can experiment with hands on activities from The Muse.


The Children’s Festival of Reading is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment of the Arts, Friends of the Library, ORNL Federal Credit Union, Pilot Flying J, Humanities Tennessee, Tennessee Arts Commission, City of Knoxville, the Knoxville News Sentinel, Comcast, B97.5 and WBIR TV 10.


About the Featured Artists:


Michael Buckley is the bestselling author of the Sisters Grimm and N.E.R.D.S. series. Born in Akron, Ohio, Buckley tried his hand as a stand-up comic and lead singer for a punk rock back before attending Ohio University. After graduating with honors he moved to New York City to be an intern on the Late Show with David Letterman which led to stints developing programming for Discovery Networks, MTV, MTV Animation and Klasky Csupo (producers of Nickelodeon’s Rugrats). In 2013, he published his first picture book, Kel Gilligan’s Daredevil Stunt Show, with pictures by award-winning illustrator Dan Santat.



Carmen Agra Deedy is an internationally known, award winning author and storyteller. Born in Havana, Cuba and raised in Decatur, Georgia, Deedy has written books in both Spanish and English. Deedy received a Cybils nomination and a Pura Belpre Honor for 2007’s Martina the Beautiful Cockroach/ Martina una cucarachita muy linda, and her performance of the audiobook version is an ALA Notable Children’s Recording and received an Odyssey Award Honor. She is also the author of perennial storytime favorite The Library Dragon. As a storyteller, Deedy has performed across the United States and Canada including at the Disney Institute, the New Victory Theater, the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Kennedy Center. She delivered the 2010 commencement address for the women’s college of Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia, where she was also awarded an honorary doctorate.



Andrea Davis Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of many books for children and young adults, including picture books, novels, works of historical fiction and nonfiction. Andrea’s picture books include Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down, which won the Jane Addams Book Award, the Carter G. Woodson Award for historical works for young people, the Anne Izard Storyteller’s Award, the Flora G. Stieglitz Strauss Award for Nonfiction and a Parenting Publication Gold Medal. Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride was a School Library Journal “Best Book of the Year” and garnered Pinkney a Coretta Scott King Author Honor. The New York Times hailed Bird in a Box as a “powerful middle-grade novel” told with “tenderness and verve”, and Duke Ellington was given both Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Honors. Pinkney was recently named one of the “25 Most Influential Black Women in Business” by The Network Journal and one of the “25 Most Influential People in Our Children’s Lives” by Children’s Health Magazine.


Brian Pinkney has illustrated numerous books for children, including two Caldecott Honor books, The Faithful Friend, by Robert D. San Souci, and Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra, by Andrea Davis Pinkney. Mr. Pinkney’s own books include Hush, Little Baby; Cosmo and the Robot; Max Found Two Sticks; JoJo’s Flying Side Kick; and The Adventures of Sparrowboy, winner of the 1997 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. Brian Pinkney has received the Coretta Scott King Award for illustration and three Coretta Scott King Honor Awards. (


Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a New York Times best-selling author and illustrator and a two-time winner of the Caldecott Honor Award (First the Egg and Green), winner of the New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award (First the Egg), the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Best Picture Book (Dog and Bear), and a two-time winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award (One Boy and First the Egg). She is also the recipient of the Empire State Award for “Body of Work and Contribution to Children’s Literature”. (


Toni Buzzeo is a librarian whose debut picture book, The Sea Chest, won a Lupine Honor Award and a Children’s Crown Gallery Award. 2012’s New York Times bestseller One Cool Friend was named a Caldecott Honor Book and a 2013 Notable Children’s Book, and is a Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library selection. DollyWood’s Penguin Players have also brought One Cool Friend to life in an exciting play that they will perform at the 2014 Children’s Festival of Reading. Buzzeo was also named Maine Library Media Specialist of the Year in 1999 and, in addition to her numerous picture books, has published three professional books for library media specialists and teachers. (



Chris Grabenstein is the co-author with James Patterson of the #1 New York Times bestseller, I FUNNY. He is also an award-winning author of books for children and adults, a playwright, screenwriter, and former advertising executive and improvisational comedian. His critically-acclaimed Haunted Mystery series for middle-grade readers won three Agatha Awards for Best Children’s/YA Novel and Booklist has given 2013’s New York Times Bestseller Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library a starred review. (


Shelley Pearsall has sold more than a quarter million copies of her novels for young peopleworldwide. Her first historical novel, Trouble Don’t Last, was the recipient of the prestigious Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction in 2003 and her first contemporary novel, All of the Above, was a 2007 ALA Notable Book. He has been the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Fellowship in Writing and was named the 2005 Children’s Writer-in-Residence for the James Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio. (


Brady Rymer toured and recorded with RCA roots-rock band From Good Homes for thirteen years, sharing the stage with the likes of Bob Dylan, Dave Matthews and the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, before parenthood expanded the scope of this music to include young and old alike. Since then, he’s forged a career with Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could – they “might just be the best-sounding band in children’s music,” according to NPR’s All Things Considered—releasing six acclaimed albums (including a 2006 Grammy nomination for Here Comes Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could) and bringing energetic, rockin’ live music to kids and families across the country. (


Learn more about the Children’s Festival of Reading at or by calling 215-8767.